Bikes move pretty slowly compared to other traffic, so it's useful to know what's coming up behind you. The Owl 360 provides a high-tech solution, with an under seat camera connected to a handlebar-mounted video screen.
Rear-view cameras are old news for cars, but the Owl 360 has been specifically tailored for bike use. The rechargeable battery runs the system for five hours, and the whole thing is weather and vibration resistant to handle the harsh outdoor environment of a bike. The camera is even infrared sensitive for night use, and a ring of flashing red LEDs around the camera come on automatically when it gets dark.
Theft seems like it would be big problem, although the screen pops off easily so you can carry it with you. Still, the camera is fixed in place, and here in New York they'll steal anything that isn't attached in some hard to remove way.
When I was a kid we would put mirrors on our bikes, and when they became uncool we would simply turn our heads to see what was behind. But why do something simple and cheap like that, when you can use a fancy tech solution?
I wonder if you could rig it up to show TV on the screen? Then we would have to deal with distracted biking as a new category of crime.
The Owl 360 is available for preorder with an expected price of about $180.